Podcast Ep 28: Ian Rapoport, NFL Insider, Sportswriter, & Host of RapSheet and Friends

Today I’m joined by Ian Rapoport, a leading NFL media insider and host of the RapSheet and Friends podcast. He has covered the league since 2009, previously serving as Patriots beat reporter for the Boston Herald for three seasons. Now based in New York City, he also has covered the Alabama Crimson Tide for the Birmingham News and Mississippi State for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. On his podcast, he provides in-depth analysis on the biggest news in the NFL and insightful conversations with the key players, coaches, and front office personnel.

We covered a lot of ground on this show, including Ian’s passion for endurance sports, how he develops strong relationships with sources, and how it feels to sit on and release breaking news. He also shared his outlook on what it’s been like to work from home as a sports reporter during the lockdown, how he views performance-enhancing drugs, and who Ian admires.

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Show Notes:

2:30 – At Home Work. “I’ll be talking to some powerful NFL person and they’ll be like, ‘Hold on honey, I’ll help you with your coloring in a second.” And that’s just what life is like now.”

13:00 – Endurance Sports. “I always knew how to suffer. And I always knew how to pull even when you felt like you wanted to die.  And, for whatever reason, that’s the sort of thing that kept me coming back to rowing.”

21:30 – Performance Enhancers. “All cheating is bad, but at least you understand why someone might cheat. And the other thing is, there are people who come in and tell you what’s wrong and what you can’t do. And I always wonder, if they were in that situation, would they make the moral choice? And I don’t know, and I’m never going to be doping on my Peloton, but I do think about these things a lot.”

29:00 – Accuracy vs. Attention. “Back then, when I was just getting started, I sort of wanted the attention so I would report almost everything I heard.  Now I found myself reporting less and less of the little gossipy things and what happens then is you gain more trust, you gain more sources, people respect you more, and people trust you with more sensitive stuff.”

41:00 – Who Ian Admires. “It was always the reporters in magazines. Like Gary Smith, who worked for Sports Illustrated for so many years, would write these amazingly rich, in-depth profiles. I remember he wrote a great one on Andre Agassi and Agassi saying he read the piece and learned something about himself – and that’s amazing.”

46:00 – What it’s like to have Breaking News. “It’s so great to break a story and get the big win. And people always ask, ‘why do you like your job?’ And I always say, ‘I like to win.’”

55:00 – How Ian Unplugs. “I have a good, somewhat sane life considering the job I have.”

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